Salary Shortchange

Type: Article
Topics: Board Relations, District & School Operations, Ethics, Finance & Budgets, School Administrator Magazine

August 01, 2021

Ethical Educator
Bait and Switch

A district’s chief financial officer is retiring. Given the position’s competitiveness and the difficulty of filling it, the school board increases the projected salary by $25,000, attracting several strong candidates.

As the superintendent prepares to recommend the finalist, an economic downturn leaves the district facing budget cutbacks that may affect staff. The board, believing the position’s increased salary now will be viewed negatively by staff and community, requests the superintendent to reduce the offer substantially.

Should the superintendent do so?

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The Ethical Educator panel consists of 

  • Shelley Berman, AASA lead superintendent, Redmond, Ore.;
  • MaryEllen Elia, senior fellow, International Center for Leadership in Education and retired superintendent;
  • Chris Lee Nicastro, former Missouri commissioner of education and president, Lee Consulting Group, St. Louis, Mo.; and
  • Louis N. Wool, superintendent, Harrison, N.Y.

Each month, School Administrator draws on actual circumstances to raise an ethical decision-making dilemma in K-12 education. Our distinguished panelists provide their own resolutions to each dilemma.

Do you have a suggestion for a dilemma to be considered? Send it to: